REEDSPORT — All that was missing was a set of football pads.
But instead of fighting for first downs, Coquille’s Ean Smith was finding contact on the hardwood as he drove the lane against Reedsport on Tuesday night. Seeking out the bigger bodies of Reedsport’s posts, Smith scored 23 points for the visiting Red Devils on the way to a 66-47 Sunset Conference win.
Reedsport's Dallas McGill drives the ball last week against Coquille's Jeremy Kistner at Reedsport High School. Coquille beat Reedsport 66-47.
Coquille was up to No. 2 in the Oregon School Activities Association's power rankings for Class 2A after the win. Reedsport was No. 11.
“I see a big two guys and I’m like I’m going to go at them. I don’t care, I’m going to go at them. Works for me,” Smith said of Reedsport’s Javier Analco and Dallas McGill, who were clogging the lane.
“I was excited. I’ve been playing with those guys since like third grade. Every single time I see them, I want to go at them just because you see each other around all the time and you want to be able to poke fun at them.”
With Coquille’s crisp passing opening up scoring opportunities in the first half, Smith took advantage hitting his first five shots of the game on the way to 14 points by halftime.
“He’s a hard fit for people to guard. Because you can’t put a big on him because he’s going to drive around and if you put a small on him, I’m just going to post him up,” said Coquille head coach Willy Layton of his senior.
Helping establish a commanding 31-12 lead midway through the second quarter was Coquille’s Jeremy Kistner, who had 11 points through two quarters of play. Kistner finished with 19 points.
But before Coquille could coast to a win, the Brave hit back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a late run that made the score 37-24 at the half. With Analco batting down low for Reedsport and scoring five unanswered points followed by a 3-pointer from Tyler Thornton in the third quarter, the Brave had brought its deficit under 10 points with the score at 41-32.
Coquille's Ean Smith drives the ball Tuesday against Coquille's Dallas McGill at Reedsport High School. Coquille beat Reedsport 66-47.
Analco finished with 15 points while Thornton had 12.
“At nine points, we get a couple of stops and hit a couple of shots and we’re in great shape,” said Reedsport head coach Allen Chaney. “But for some reason, it went completely opposite of that and we wound up losing by 19.”
The Brave had opportunities throughout the third quarter to close the deficit, but had nine of its 24 turnovers in the quarter. Before Reedsport had any more chances to get back into the game, Coquille’s Smith, as he had done all night, found a way to get to the basket scoring six points in a quick 9-0 run that stretched into the fourth quarter.
“Ean decided to say, 'I’m just going to find the open spot on the floor and I’m going to beat you.' And that’s what he did,” said Chaney.
An 11-1 Coquille scoring stretch later in the fourth quarter iced the game as the Red Devils moved to 6-1 in league play. Reedsport fell to 3-4 in the Sunset Conference with all four losses coming to teams ranked in the top 10 in the OSAA rankings.
“If we can improve enough that we can then take care of what we should be able to do against the teams that we can beat in the second half, we’ll be OK,” said Chaney of his goal for Reedsport as the team starts the second half of the league season. “We’ll be right where we have a shot and that’s all you can ask, have a shot to make it to state at the end.”
Coquille's Julien Temps flips a pass to a teammate Tuesday during a game against Reedsport at Reedsport High School. Coquille beat Reedsport 66-47.
As Coquille heads into the final stretch of games, the team wants to build on its 15-2 record before entering the playoffs.
“Just improvement on the little things and the fundamentals and everything,” said Smith on the focus down the final stretch. “And then February 14th go at them. February 14th go at them.” On Feb. 14 the Red Devils have a rematch against No. 1 ranked Toledo. Coquille lost the first meeting 89-68.